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Virtualization (Last updated: 29-02- 2008)

Microsoft Windows Hyper-V (WSV) VS VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5


Queries the following Comparison is trying to Answer:


VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 VS Microsoft Windows Hyper-V (WSV)

How does MS Windows Hyper-V (WSV) compare to VMware VI3?

Advantages & Disadvantages of Windows Hyper-V (WSV) & VMware VI3 (V3.5)

What is better VMware VI3 or MS Windows Hyper-V (WSV)? How?

Independent Unbiased Comparison MS Windows Hyper-V (WSV) & VMware VI3


VMware VI3 VS MS Windows Hyper-V (WSV) Introduction:


Ok, decided on riding the virtualization boat and confused on the right product for your company. You are in the correct place as here we list the comparisons of most of the virtualization solutions. On this page we will compare Microsoft Windows Hyper-V (WSV) vs VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3, but other comparisons are available and you can choose them from the menu on the left panel. As Microsoft Windows 2008 is approaching with its new Hyper-V virtualization solution, we started getting many requests to compare the two products. This comparison has been based on the Beta of Hyper-V which build into Windows 2008 canadite release. In addition, we had tried to include Microsoft planned features which still no delivered in the comparison.

Below is our unbiased comparison of MS Hyper-V (WSV) vs VMware VI3. If you are looking for the latest VMware vs HyperV comparison then you want to check out: Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V VS VMware ESX 4.0


  VMware/EMC Microsoft



ITComparison Comments VMware site is a bit easier to browse in regards of virtualization than Microsoft site due to the fact its their core business and they don't offer as much products to jam their site comparing to Microsoft.
Product Name Infrstructure v3.5  (Starter, Standard, and Enterprise) Infrstructure Microsoft Windows Hyper-V
ITComparison Comments It seems that VMware Infrastructure 3 is more attractive naming than Hyper-V
Pricing range paid product $1000 - $5750 (two CPU versions) Free, but you still got to buy Windows 2008.
ITComparison Comments










-: MS Windows Hyper-V 2005 R2 VS VMware VI3:-

This can really be misleading as for Microsoft Windows Hyper-V  you still

have to pay for the host operating system (Windows 2008), which is for some versions almost the equivalent of what you would pay for VMware 3.5. So if your virtual machines are not running windows 2008 and if you don't benefit of  the special licensing offered by Microsoft for running several Windows version in a virtualized environment then people should look at the cost of Windows 2008 as the cost of Microsoft Windows Hyper-V.  Anyway, if your guest are not Windows then the cost of windows 2008 is obviously only for the hypervisor which does not seems to us being free!!!! MS promised for a separate $29 version in the future, but not clear when and how.


In addition, in VMware VI3 you can run more virtual machines on the same specs machine as its running bare-metal and waste less resource than Microsoft Hyper-V solution and in many cases that it self will make up for the cost differences. Don't let the initial price fool you.

Primary usage Production Environment

Testing & Development  


ITComparison Comments

MS Hyper-V is still in beta and does not seems to be mature enough to run in production in the near future. It seems it will take a while for MS to get ready for production. in the other site VMware have been mature

enough for production environment for a while. It has been used by most of the fortune 100 companies in production. That prove readiness of VMware Virtual Infrastructure. It will take time for MS to prove the same.   

Required Host OS (if any) Infra v3:bare metal Windows 2008 x64 Standard/Enterprise /Datacenter Editions
ITComparison Comments

-: Microsoft Hyper-V  VS VMware VI3:-

VMware bare-metal installation harden the security of its product and

   make it independent of any operating system security risks and

 breaches unlike the Microsoft Hyper-V which unfortunately still

 affected by the underlying OS (Windows 2008) bugs, viruses, and

security breaches even if only windows 2008 core service is running. In addition, not using underlying OS make it more resource efficient although  Hyper-V is using hypervisor technology equivalent to Xen which make it a lot faster than its previous virtualization product Virtual Server 2005, still got lot more constrains when compared to VI3 Infrastructure specially when it come to Linux and Legacy windows systems.


Although the final release will be a part of Standard/Enterprise /Datacenter Editions of Windows 2008 at the moment the beta is only fully included the x64 edition of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Release Candidate 1.

Management tools Virtual Center 2.5 Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is planned to be the centralized management support for Hyper-V, but not yet integrated.
ITComparison Comments

Microsoft are planning to integrate their Hyper-V with Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and use it as its centralized management, but it still not integrated yet, but planned for the future. At the moment you have to manage it using Hyper-V Manager via MMC which allow you to manage the virtual machines running at one host at a time, But even when VMM get integrated with Hyper-V, Its not as rich as the VMware Virtual Center features wise as its still in its early days.

Support resources High Medium
ITComparison Comments

Microsoft might have more support resources than VMware,

but not when it comes to virtualization, though they are investing into

that direction.

Supported Guest OS

- Microsoft WindowsNT4.0   


 - Red Hat Enterprise 2.1/3/4/5                                 

- Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 2.1                                  

- Redhat Linux 7.2/7.3/8.0/9.0                                 

 - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8/9/10

- SUSE Linux 8.2/9.0/9.1/9.2/9.3

-FreeBSD 4.9/4.10/4.11

- NetWare 6.5/6.0/5.1      

- Solaris 10 for X86          

- Vista (Experimental Support)

- Windows 2008 Beta (Experimental Support)       

- Windows 2003 Standard/Enterprise SP1/SP2/R2 64-bit + Virtual SMP (Supported in Production) 

- MS Windows 2008

- MS Windows 2003

- SUSE Enterprise Linux Server  

  10 SP1   

ITComparison Comments

Its obvious that VMware has production support for many more OS than Microsoft.  Actually supported guest operating systems in Microsoft Windows Hyper-V is very limited.

Linux Support Support most Linux version available today. - Only SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 10 SP1 is totally supported

- Xen supported version of Linux is planned to be supported. They should run by now, but with modification and not supported.

ITComparison Comments

Its obvious at the moment that Hyper-V still lagging on Linux support, where VMware support running most version of Linux without the need to modify it, Hyper-V still only officially support SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 10  SP1 at the moment. Other Linux versions that have Paravirtualized Xen Kernal should run at the moment, but still not officially supported. Even with the limited version of Linux being supported by MS Hyper-V it still not that easy to setup. To illustrate the required steps to setup Linux on Hyper-V read below:


Microsoft Hyper-V provides Integration Components for Linux OSes, which is currently a separate download that you need to register for on the Microsoft Connect beta testing site. It would been acceptable if the Integration Component for Linux OSes were straight forward to setup but it require many complicated steps and what worse you have to do the same steps over and over again for every Linux virtual machine including the following:

1- Manual installation of Xen Kernel.

2- Excute a seperate script that modifies the Linux bootloader 

    configuration to allow the use of Microsoft Hypercall adapter.

3- Run a perl script to install the Integration tools and paravirtualized 



Its clear that setting up Linux on VMware is way easier and cleaner than Hyper-V at the moment, but Microsoft might change that when the full release is ready to market.


- Higher Performance

- More virtual Machines per hardware

- Slower Performance

- Fewer Virtual Machines per  




The performance advantage of VMware is related directly with it being

running bare-metal and have a smaller foot print than Microsoft Windows Hyper-V.

64-bit Support Has full support for most of the 64-bit Operating Systems. Support Windows 64-bit Operating Systems.
ITComparison Comments This is an obvious advantage of MS Windows Hyper-v over MS Virtual server which did not support any 64-bit guest OS, but still lag behind VMware on this one as well.

Live Migration



High Availability



Dynamic Resources



Storage VMotion (SVMotion)












Quick Migration (not real Live migration)



Quick Migration (Host Clustering)



NLB is all MS Offer !!








Its a great features that VMware came up with and Microsoft still can't match. Although many assume some of the Hyper-V features match these of VMware, you can see the differences illustrated below:

VMotion vs Quick Migration:

VMware VMotion is real Live migration where Quick Migration is nothing more than host based clustering. It has more requirements on the host side as it have to support windows 2008 clustering requirment and not as easy as VMotion to setup. In addition, Hyper-V Quick Migration require a downtime enough to get the machine to save state then shift the LUN group owner then bring back the machine to running state. This downtime may vary depending on the speed of the SAN, size and usage of the virtual machine. In the other side, VMware VMotion require a zero downtime which can be a major advantage for environment which does not tolerate downtime. Even Microsoft clearly know the differences and announced that they have delayed the Live migration feature to a future release.

HA vs Host Clustering:

Windows host clustering is harder to setup than VMware HA, but it can do the job.


Network load balancing is nothing new, and it only work on the network layer. It distribute the network load equally between the virtual machines only depending on the traffic load on them not on how they are utilized. In addition, it require you to run several virtual machines with OS which support NLB and configure NLB for each of them depending on the configuration required for that OS which can be complex for some OSes. They does not come even near what VMware offer with DRS which distribute the load of the virtual machines dynamically and can shift Live virtual machines between different hosts as required to obtain best performance based on setting and configuration controlled by the administrator. In addition, VMware support NLB for its virtual machines, but it did not limit its capability to that.

Storage VMotion:

SVMotion is a new feature of VMware VI3 where and entire disk files of a virtual machine can be moved from one storage array to another without affecting the operation of that Virtual Machine. This mean VMware VI3 users can avoid downtime for their virtual machines when they need to carry a storage maintenance. It means as well they can easily upgrade or move to a new storage without the need for a down time. This feature has no equivalent in MS Hyper-V at the moment, which mean downtime for storage maintenance can't be avoided.

Virtual Machine support SCSI disk Boot Yes No



MS Windows Hyper-V still does not support booting virtual Machine from Virtual SCSI disk. It only support it from Virtual IDE disk which will highly slow the performance of these virtual machines. It is not clear yet if the final version of Hyper-V will support booting virtual machines from virtual SCSI disk as no announcement on that have been made. If MS does not come up with boot from virtual SCSI then they are risking their product of a very bad performance lag behind VMware which has that capability.

Online Backup VCB (VMware Consolidated Backup)  Live Backups with VSS



VMware VCB Is a great backup advantage as you can with it take live backup (image) of running virtual machines without affecting the performance of the host neither the virtual machines performance, where with MS Hyper-V that still seems to depend on the host capabilities using the Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) to enable you to take Live Backups of running virtual machines in terms of snapshots, but still affect the Hyper-V Host performance while the backup is running.

Max virtual Machine Specs

64GB of RAM


64GB of RAM




Although Microsoft has been good in keeping up with numbers for marketing, still VMware can offer a better specs virtual machines for most Operating systems beside windows 2008. At the moment, 4 virtual CPUs are only recommended on Windows Server 2008 RC1 with Hyper-V Beta. Its not even recommended to use more than one virtual CPUs with Windows 2003 at the moment, but this hopefully would be resolved when the final release arrive. The following quote is directly from Microsoft Hyper-V release note:


==============From MS Hyper-V release note Begin============

Configure the virtual machines as follows:

For the guest operating system, install one of the following:

  • Windows Server 2008 RC1 with Hyper-V Beta, with a maximum of 4 virtual processors. No other release of Windows Server 2008 is supported with this release of Hyper-V.

  • The Windows Server 2003 operating system, with a maximum of 1 virtual processor. You can install either a 32-bit version or an x64-based version."

=============From MS Hyper-V release note End===============


Special Hardware Requirement Require supported SCSI or SATA controllers. x64 based processor computer hardware-assisted virtualization, and hardware data execution protection (Intel VT or AMD-V) is a must.



It seems Microsoft has forgotten again that many companies have some older hardware that does not run 64-bit and would like to virtualize their environment. MS Hyper-V force companies to obtain a newer more expensive hardware to be able to virtualize.

Other Related Comparisons:


Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V VS VMware vSphere

Xen Server Enterprise VS VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 VS Xen Server Enterprise

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 VS VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3


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